The return of the ‘original’ Redback brand to WA has seen an updated version of the beer brewed, rather than its original recipe.
Matilda Bay brewer Harry Sexton confirmed the Redback wheat beer has been adapted to modern tastes.
“Back in the day it was a banana heavy, phenolic wheat beer, it was full-on and it worked back then,” Sexton explained.
But founder and original brewer Phil Sexton insisted on the modernisation, he said.
“He didn’t want this to be a cover band or a blast from the past. It was about trying to take what we had and make it new and improved. So we took that upon ourselves to modernise the recipe and make it cleaner and fresher for the drinkers of today.
“As far as the style, we’ve come up with a recipe that doesn’t follow any rules.
“It’s dual ferment, with one wort stream of blending and two separate ferments at the end. One uses our house ale strain, a lovely one that’s English in origin, and the other is a French witbier strain, which is Saison-esque with lovely phenolic characters.”
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One of the beers that kick started Australia’s craft movement three decades ago is returning on-tap to its place of origin, Western Australia.
Matilda Bay’s Redback wheat beer was originally created by master brewer Phil Sexton in 1986.
Mr Sexton parted ways with the original Matilda Bay in the early 1990’s, before returning to partner with Carlton & United Breweries two years ago and re-establish Matilda Bay Brewery in Victoria’s Yarra Valley.
While Redback remained in name, this is the first time Phil Sexton has brewed the beer in more than 30 years.
“This rendition of Redback is a riff on the original. It’s true to the first beer we brewed, but with the benefit of 35 years of hindsight and experience,” said Mr Sexton.
“It’s the beer I would have made back then, if I knew then what I know now. It was important for me to bring it back, as Redback is arguably the beer that kick started the whole craft beer movement. It has a strong place in the heart of most older craft beer drinkers.”
Redback was Australia’s first wheat beer, a trend that’s since moved out of vogue, until now.
“You might question the wisdom of releasing a wheat beer back into the Australian market. But with Redback we’re showing that you can make a wheat beer that is sessionable and easy to drink, while giving you the richness of experience that you get from using some wheat in the brew,” Mr Sexton said.
Redback is described as a sparkling blonde Wheat ale style with a pale glow that draws on its origins. It’s 4.7% ABV.
Traditional, with a twist, Mr Sexton, son Harry, and the other brewers at Matilda Bay drew upon novel brewing techniques to bring this unfiltered beer to life.
The aroma is mandarin rind and floral spice with underlying fruit, a hint of hop spice and a slightly biscuity malt tone. Palate is creamy, soft yet firm; walking a delicate line between fullness and fineness while balancing lemon curd and earth fruit notes to produce a well balanced mild palate with high drinkability. The finish is crisp and fresh.
Redback, the original wheat beer, will be exclusively available on tap from Friday at the following locations in WA: The Sail & Anchor (Fremantle), The Balmoral (Victoria Park), The Queens Tavern (Highgate), Brass Monkey Hotel (Northbridge), Kalamunda Hotel (Kalamunda), Como Hotel (Como) and the Captain Stirling Hotel (Nedlands).